tv Q A CSPAN June 27, 2010 8:00pm-9:00pm EDT
videos like the one you just saw on line at c-span.org. coming up tonight on c-span, "q&a" featuring madeleine sackler. that is followed by prime ministers questions from the british house of commons. after that, president obama and canadian prime minister stephen harper's remarks from the g-20 closing news conference. .
the families are experiencing something very difficult. so i think to reduce that to prop glanda or calling it advocacy or something like that is a little bit unfair. >> what is it? >> the film? the film is called the lottery and it's about four families from harlem and one from the bronx who are entering the children in a lottery for the school in harlem.
unfortunately, thousands and thousands of families are going through this process every year, and so their chances are about one in seven. and initially we were very excited to make a film solely about that, just about four families, a portrait of them and their experience. but what we found is that there's an enormous political controversy surrounding that process and the particular school that they were trying to get their kids into. so that became sort of the second story line in the film. >> let's watch a little bit and i will ask you some more questions. >> stay nice and quiet. hands on top. thank you. 100%. can you share what you have? all eyes should be on elvis. >> i am am a president. my mom is a president. >> great. i love how you decided to talk about two nouns.
i love it. did you notice he was telling us about some nouns? >> there is a message that parents in certain neighborhoods don't care about education. i have never believed that to be true and all of my experience has indicated that's not the case. >> if you're ready for all the hard work you're doing. >> the problem in less affluent communities is that parents don't have the choices that middle and upper middle class parents have. they can't buy an apartment in the pf 6 zones. they can't move to westchester. those aren't options. it doesn't mean that because they don't have those option they don't want the alternatives. the problem is not the parents, the problem is not the children. the problem is a system that protects academic failure and limits the choices that parents
have. >> if you're not from new york, talking about harlem and westchester and this woman fill in the blanks. >> sure. what you find is that what the public education system is offering varies dramatically from district to district. and in fact, many studies have been done that show that unfortunately demographics and the zip code that you're from in this country determines your destiny. and that is exhibited in many ways. but especially in terms off educational outcomes. so if you're from a more affluent suburb like westchester, or i'm from 30 minutes away from harlem, we have access to a much better public education system than the kids do in harlem. and that's really what i was interesttd in. i think that that difference is -- i mean, i think it's morally wrong. i really think this is the civil rights issue of today.
and it's not just about race. it's about class. and the risks of this are tremendous. i mean, i can end up going to college and choosing if i want to be a doctor or a struggling film maker, and kids in harlem, many of them aren't going to have that choice because they're not going to have the skills to graduate from high school and to get through college. >> eva moss quits, who is she? >> she found it had school that's featured in the film. we interviewed three leaders of target schools who collectively i think have over 100 schools at this point. including the kit network as well. and eva runs one of them, called harlem success academy. she is also a former city council member where she chaired the education committee, so she is quite politically active. and when she lost her run for borough president she decided to go ahead and open schools and prove what she thought she
>> she said she don't go to work now. she got to take care of me. >> when sh did she lose her hearing? >> very young. i think she was about two. >> was that her home? >> that was her home. she is a single mother. she lives actually down the street from me so i see them a lot which is really fun. but i think they are in a very challenging circumstance. she is a single deaf mother. she clearly adoors her daughter and understands like just about all of the parents that i met that education is the key to her daughter's success. and so she did the best that she could to try to find her a better school than what was being offered up in the traditional zoned system in her district. >> what does she do for a live sng
>> she doesn't work right now. she is trying to get her ged. >> and that little kid, i've seen the whole documentary, can sign. we saw a little bit right there. >> she can. she was very helpful. >> how old is she? >> at the time that we were shooting, she was four. and so it's now been a year. >> and how much shooting? i know you had four families. how much shooting did you have to do? >> we shot for a total of three months. so from february until may. and the idea was to get to know the families and their lives and their circumstances and their dreams in the month leading up to the lottery withh the lottery being sort of the climb act tick event that brings all of these people together. and it varied, the amount of time that we spent with them. if you've ever been in a new york apartment, you know they are very small, and we had a 6-5 cameraman and a lot of equipment, so we tried to do it in short bursts.
>> now, you said that she lives right down the street. you live in harlem? >> i don't. i live in 88th street. i live in upper manhattan. >> if you've never been to harlem, where does it start and finish? >> it's a good question. it depends who you ask, because there's different neighborhoods in upper manhattan like sugar hill and that's on 145th street and some people consider that's harlem. but it's basically above central park. >> later on it becomes a controversy as to where eva mossco wits list. >> yeah. >> let's see her some more talking to some of the parents. >> i wanted to make sure to tell you personally the good, the bad, and the ugly about our school design. we don't have any kind of magic formula here. it's basically establishing a very strong school culture of high expectation. so we have a longer school day and we have a longer school
year, and we're pretty relentless. what happens if your child doesn't, if you don't show up on time? what do you think we do? what would really crazy people who do who are just totally focused on you getting your kid to school? we do wakeup calls. we will wake you up. if you are late, consistently, we will do wakeup calls. we're going to have to work three times as hard, and we do, and we're very, very successful. on our practice exams, a hundred percent of our children ace the exam. a hundred percent. there's no zone school in harlem that has more than 58% of the children passing the test. to me, what this suggests is that children are capable of an enormous amount, and the problem with education is not the children, it is the grownups. we do not view the tests as the end goal. our goal for our children is college graduation.
>> we thought that you could improve the education outcome for the children in central harlem, and we were constantly hearing it's not the same kids and the families are really troubled, and these young people are dealing with so many issues in their life we really can't expect them to be able to compete with other children who are growing up in better circumstances. we thought that while indeed it was going to be hard for our children that we could create schools, all over america, where children still learn despite the fact that they are growing up in troubled neighborhoods and troubled families. >> when did you learn that eva was controversial? >> i learned that over the process of the shoot. we really just stumbled on this controversy. and going into the project i was very intentional about wanting to avoid controversy and politics because i didn't want to divide the audience and i didn't have any particular side that i took.
but we really found that was impossible. and i think what i sort of learned over the process is that it's not really about sides. there's a lot of people that are looking to sort of divide and to create sides. but in fact, it's really just about or should be about what's best for kids. and so i thought it was important to show the controversy in the end because it answers the question that i had going in, which is why aren't there more schools like this if so many parents want them and they are so success. ful, as you saw in that clip. unfortunately, the answer that you get to that a lot is because it's some parents don't care of or it's because of poverty. and what's interesting is the parents in harlem were surprised by the results that the school was getting. and what these schools all over the country are proving is that's not true.
it's not society and it's not a parent's lack of interest that's causing the enormous achievement gap between the wess chesters of the country and the harlems of the country. >> where are you from originally? >> greenwich, connecticut. >> did you go to high school out there? >> i did. i went to greenwich high school. it's the one public school in town. >> explain, greenwich high school has got a reputation of -- explain about the school. how big is it? >> it's quite big. it's got several thousand kids. it's been growing since i was there. it's known for being a good public high school. i take a little bit of issue with that. i think that there's still a lot of room for improvement there, which is why i get a little bit scared. then i hear that 30 minutes away in harlem, kids are doing half as good as they were at the school that i went to. i think that's terrible. and in fact, that's proven in
testing. there's also an achievement gap between the united states and the top 5% of students here, whether you're disaggregate it based on income level or test scores or what, our scuents are falling behind -- students are falling behind globally. i think we're something like 22 out of 29 countries. so really, this affects everyone. i think whether you're from greenwich or west port or you're from harlem, this is a serious problem. >> it's safe to say that greenwich is one of the most -- one of the richest towns in america. >> yes. >> the people that live there do very well. >> and so really the world. people are very lucky. yeah. >> do they spend a lot of money at greenwich high school on education in your community? >> on the taxes? yes. >> you hear all the time that they spend more money in washington, d.c. per student than they do any place or in
boston. >> i think the money is really important in some respects i think it's sort of a red herring. balk, like you say, if you break it down per pupil it doesn't seem to lead to higher or lower outcomes. i mean, of course like i think teachers should be paid more, particularly the best ones and i think there's always room for more spending, but i think it's more about effective spending than about needing more money. >> who gets the most upset about eva and why? >> i don't know if i could answer that question. i mean, we saw a lot of people that were upset by her. i think she has a long-standing relationship with randy wine garten who is the president of the united federation of teachers at the time when eva was chairing the education committee. and it sounds like the uft was hearing's that eva was holding with regards to school
performance. and all the contracts related to teachers and custodians and principals. and so my understanding is that the union actually ran somebody against eva when she ran for borough president and ended up losing. >> and randy wine garden is now he had of the american federation teachers. >> yep. >> here's the next clip, someone you talked to who was not on your side in this. let's watch it. >> i think the union is a force in new york city as well it should be. i think that the union is here to stay. i don't think it's going anywhere. and i think to think that you can get rid of it is, a, a mistake. frankly, i'm a unionist, my husband ran the largest union in new york city and i believe it's important because i
believe by collective bargaining through the union you get the best deal for everybody. the teachers union contract is 600 pages in length. it's kind of the government structure for schools and it lays out all the thing that is teachers can't do. it press scribes almost every aspect of schooling. it limits prep time to one 50-minute period per day. we think teachers need three prep periods a day to be excellently prepared. that would be a violation of the contract. we also think that we need to be able to work clabtively with teachers to improve their practice. so i all the time go into classrooms as do my principals to watch a teacher teach unannounced. we have an open-door policy. that's prohibited in the teacher's union contract. it's very, very hard to run a school where everything is
pre-determined. because what you need to do in order to meet the needs of children is you need to constantly refine your school design and school schedule. there's a problem today, we can fix it by the end of the day. >> betsy does what in new york city? >> she was a public advocate that's an elected position. she has since retired. >> would the unions talk to you? >> no. unfortunately, not. you know, again, going into it i was very interested in the whole picture. and in no way from a sort of a partisan perspective. but, unfortunately, they declined. we tried very hard from day one actually up until we locked picture. i was so determined that i was going to include them in this film. and i thought it was very important, their vision for public education going forward. >> why not? why wouldn't they talk? >> well, the reason they gave is that they didn't have time. but i would imagine that over the course of a year they
probably just decided that it wasn't worthwhile. i mean, you know, this was my first film, so to be fair not very many people wanted to do me any favors. it's very challenging to make a documentary, and one of the most challenging parts is access. and so we worked hard to do it, we gave them many opportunities and said anybody is welcomed to come speak. and they decided not to. >> you sit outside watching this documenty, the traditional lineups of democrats and unions don't work. i mean, help me on that one. she's a democrat. >> yep. >> and she wants to -- she doesn't like a lot of the things the unions do. she's talking about a 600-page contract. >> there's a lot of things in the contract. and i think it's very restrictive. and i think what's sort of interesting that i discovered is that it doesn't always even support teachers, which is a
little bit peculiar. but i met a lot of teachers that felt very frustrated. they felt that their hands were really tied and they couldn't do a good job given the rules and regulations, and that there in fact wasn't a culture of success in their schools that they believed was possible. and so you find that schools like eva's and jeffrey canada's and others are getting thousands of teacher applications from traditional public schools. >> what are the numbers? do you have an idea of how many charter schools in the country? >> i think about 5,000 now. and they are working very hard to grow that number. >> how much -- president obama? >> mm-hmm. >> how many of the charter schools are supported by taxpayer money, by the local money? >> financing depends by state. so i know in new york, it's 75%. so they get 75 cents on the dollar, and they have to fund raise for the final 25 cents. >> are they considered public
schools? >> yes. they are entirely public. they are open enrollment by law. that's where the lottery comes from. if more parents enter their children to attend the schools than they have space for, they are required by law to lottery. it's totally random. >> i noted that on the united federation of teachers, they have charter schools that are unionized. >> there are a few in the city. >> why don't they have to be unionized or how do they keep them out if they don't want them in there? >> that's part of the charter law that they're not required to be unionized. in the traditional school, as soon as you're given a job you're signed up for the union. charter schools don't do that. teachers can vote to unionize, but by and large they choose not to. >> what year did you get out of greenwich high school? >> 2001. >> and what year did you get out of duke? >> 2005. >> and this is your first
documentary? did you work on others before you did this by yourselves? >> i worked as an editor since i graduated. so about five years. but i was working freelance. so i was working on lots of different types of projects. but my last few were all documentaries. >> what did you study at duke? >> biopsychology. so i was not in the film + department. >> what dot you interested in film? >> my last year in school, i had always been interested in it but had been persuaded that i would find a job if i did -- was working in the sciences, which was also an interest of mine. but so i learned how to edit for a friend's film my last year just for fun, and instead of going back to school, i decided that i did want to work for a little while. and i've been doing it since. >> one small thing i noticed the kids in the school, the little boys had ties on.
do they all wear ties in charter schools? >> well, it's hard to make generalizations about charter schools because part of what's sort of exciting about them is they can all do soort of whatever they want. so many of them choose to have uniforms. which the schools in the film all do. but again, they're not required to do that. >> it was interesting, the little kids had ties on, but the next clip shows the mayor of newark without one. >> right. >> i don't even go to lotteries any more because they break my heart. a child's destiny should not be determined on the pull of a draw. >> of course, the lottery is prescribed by law. if demand outpaces supply you have to do a lottery. you do not have to do a public lottery. we do a public lottery to show that there are thousands and thousands of parents who are interested in a phenomenal education for their child.
>> right now, eric is in the lottery for two other schools besides harlem success academy. if he gets in the other two, i would be happy, but i really want him to get in harlem success academy. >> what can i do. i just put in to draw. >> it's difficult because it's one of the best schools in the area and you want your child in but there's not a child for every child. but i'm hoping we are picked. >> the numbers again in this situation how many applied and how many slots? >> that year there was about
3400 applicants, and about 475 spots. so about a 14, 15% chance. >> again, here is cory booker, a democrat from newark. what changes somebodyywho is a democrat from being totally for public schools and then also for charter schools? >> mayor booker has been a champion of education reform for a long time. he and eva and chancellor kline who are all democrats and featured in the film -- >> joe kline from new york? >> the chancellor in new york, have been working tirelessly for this for many, many years, much longer than most people have even known that this is a problem. and i think what's at the heart of it is probably what attracted me to this issue, which is just the sense of sort of injustice and that it really doesn't have to be that way. i mean, you visit these schools that are working and they can be traditional public schools or charter schools or private
schools. it doesn't really matter. but when they're working you can really feel it. the kids are happy, the teachers are happy, they're learning, and you just get this sense that they're moving towards something great, which is college. and i think many people like mayor booker believe that it's possible for things to get better. >> now, what is driving you in this? and what i mean by that is being a document taryn or being interested in issues? because the documentaries often are issue-driven or they have a point of view. >> well, i was really interested in the story. again, i just wanted to get to know some families and their kids, and to tell their side of the story. because you hear these terrible statistics all the time and the outcomes, which often are incarceration or dying young. being on welfare. it's serious risk. but that's not the heart of it.
the heart is that these are real kids. and you see these kids in the film and they are just like any other kids. they're adorable. someone actually accused me of picking like the cutest kids or something, which i thought was funny, because i think everything that's two feet tall is really cute and holds promise. so for me, it was the story that was interesting. but i certainly have become very attached to those kids. and to trying to help improve circumstances. >> how did you find -- we saw three new parents there, eric for instance. and laura. and the other one was amel. >> how did you find them? >> at information session that is the school holds which we saw in an earlier clip where eva or an administer at the school, it's essentially an check it out many come, because one of the sort of myths i
encountered is that these are parents that care more. but i met a lot that were there by accident. they do a very aggressive marketing job. they put a lot of fliers under doors because they don't want just parents that just "care." they believe that all kids deserve a chance. so parents, a lot are there by accident. >> here's eva again. >> the unions are playing to win. and because they don't want to be the face of the opposition to charter, at a largely organization, and it would be so obvious that they are protecting the interest of their members and so forth, what they will often do is hire an outside group like an acorn, which is a community-based organization, and they will bus in hired guns, protesters, who
will protest charter schools in general or a particular school. and they make a number of arguments about charter schools. they will say charter schools only succeed because they have small class sizes even though we have kindergarten classes of 28, 29 children. or they say charter schools don't educate special ed kids. they say if a charter school goes into this building class size will triple even though the schools in harlem are incredibly underenrolled. the struggle is a national struggle. if you talk to charter operators in any city, in any state, you will find that the opposition comes from unions and from democratic local officials. >> principle reason the unions again don't want charter schools. >> i mean, i think there's really sort of a turf war going on. i think the public education
system has existed the way that it does now since just after world war one basically. and that's a lot of time. and the union really has had a monopoly over it for that time. again, if you become a teacher in the traditional public school system in new york city, you're automatically enrolled in the union. and that's a very secure position to have. and they're a business. you know, their job is to protect teachers and charter schools are not required to unionize. so i think that poses a threat. >> where did this acorn group come from and what's the status of acorn in this country today? >> acorn has since dissolved ostensibly since then. i think it's restructured itself since different organizations. >> got an new name. >> yeah. which i think varies by state. but at the time they were a community-based organization that the uft paid about half a
million dollars to in order to protest this charter school in particular but also the expansion of charter schools in new york in general. and we encountered, that was the first sort of political controversialy that we encountered and we just drove by that protest and became curious about what was going on. and it turned out that they were in fact protesting the school that our families that we were featuring wanted to get their family into. >> did they talk to you? >> no, they would not. they said that they were not allowed. that we needed to talk to the parents that were there. but i only identified two or so parents from the school who did talk and you see in the film. >> and that was taped when? did you use tape or film? >> tape. >> and when did you tape that particular demonstration? what time of year? >> that was a good question let's see. i think that was in the spring. >> of 2009? >> yes. so, well, we filmed from feb troy may, so before the
lottery. >> here's more of the documentary on the demonstrators. >> i'm not against charter schools, but the way they're using charter schools in this neighborhood, i'm against that. in my opinion, they're doing it, it's another tool for gentrification. >> they went about it wrong. we would like to be involved in what's going on with the school. >> we have our president. the charter school will not be inside of pdf 190. >> this issue is not just about this school. let's be clear. this is about every school in this community. i'm so glad that we are joined
by acorn, because sometimes -- young man, come over here for a minute. this one is for you. what's your name? >> mark scott. >> mark scott. let me hear you say the people united will never be defeated. >> the people united will never be defeated. i want to save my family. >> harlem, mark scott has said it. we have our marching orders. all right? let's go forth and conquer. >> explain. people united will never be defeated. how are they being defeated if there's a charter school? >> that's actually like an acorn chant. you hear them saying that when it's public housing disputes and otherwise. so i don't know how specific it really was to that.
but you do get this sense that the community and the scene that that sort of is ramping up to is a very sort of emotional and aggressive meeting. town hall type meeting between the harlem success academy parents who need additional space in order to accept new classes of kids, and parents from the community as well as parents that the union is in fact busing in to come argue against this decision. and i do think that there's a sense of that these charter schools are coming from outside, that they're taking over the community, and that it's gentrification, like the gentleman said earlier, which i think are all sort of intentionally prop gated by the union. >> you mentioned earlier that half million dollars was spent
by the united federation of teachers to bring in acorn. what did this whole documentary cost you and how did you get the money? >> this film cost me less than that. and the funding was from all over. i had some very generous donors early on, which enabled me to begin filming. >> were they donors that they knew what your point of view was? >> they weren't really interested. they were interested in me being able to make a film. they were just very generous and trusted me with that. but then i used the film that we got early on to raise money from foundations. i appliee for grants from foundations that support everything from poverty to public education to entertainment and so on. >> you used the film. in other words, you showed them your film? >> i showed early short pieces so they got a sense of the production quality. >> let me ask it a different
way. if you weren't headed in the direction of basically supporting the idea of choice, would they have funded you? >> i think it depends on the fundor, probably. i mean, they really had no say over the final product, so as far as they were concerned it could have ended up either way. >> they didn't even see a rough cut. >> did eva help fund this? >> no. in no way. she was a little trepdashese actually about us filming and was very generous to open her school doors not knowing me or what the final film would look like. >> here is eva at a public space hearing. before we do that, public space, and they alluded to it in the last clip, charter schools are located sometimes inside another school? >> yeah. it's called co locating. and in new york that happens very often. one thing that chancellor kline has done in the traditional public school system is break down large schools to be many small schools in the same
building. and this is sort of like that. so you can have a public charter school on one floor and above that and below that it's a different traditional public school. >> here's the clip. >> one thing that is front of us this evening is the location of harlem success academy 2 into the m 194 facility. with that, i will give the microphone. >> we started our first school in august of 2006 because we believe deeply in what children can accomplish. we obviously need a space for our school and that is why we're here. thank you very much. [applause] >> i am the pta president of 194 and i'm also a parent. if you mean well,,then you would not come into our community and try to divide its
neighbors. the pf 194 is here and we will not, i repeat, we will not give up this fight. build your own building. let me say to ms. eva, as i said to you before, harlem will not let you disrespect them. [inaudible] we are not trying to say your kids can't come here. we are not trying to say we don't want your kid. let's work together as a team. not force each other out. >> how much tension was in the
room? >> very high. there's actually police there that on occasion would have to calm people down. + >> how is it again that if you locate that charter school inside a ps 194 you are dividing the community? >> well, that was a school that was at risk of being closed for poor performance. they had something like 30% of kids at grade level. so which it's hard to imagine that every year that means for the past many years another few hundred kids are going to go to that school and you basically know that 70% of them are not going to be at grade level. and so the chancellor was planning on closing the school and that's why you got such anger. >> here's some more from that particular meeting. >> i have a problem with 21 charter schools coming up into harlem. i said 21.
i am so tired of being tired of people disrespecting me and my children. and my schools. this space. this space. this space is for the children that is zoned for this school. mr. white, you can go back and tell your bosses that this is not a desert storm. no one is going to run through here like storming norman. that is not happening. harlem academy, you are not welcome here. we will not welcome you here. we will fight. i will fight until my dying day. i refuse to -- 194. it will not happen. over my dead body. >> did it happen? >> did they get access to the
space? no, they didn't. no. >> who determined that? >> what ended up happening is that the uft filed a lawsuit about the schools closing and won, and so the space did not become available. >> and if you go to a -- can someone go to a charter school? say, for instance, this is in harlem, up above 1110th street. if you're from 33rd, can you go to that charter school? >> you can enter the lottery. but what this particular school applied for in their charter was preference for districts students as well as actually for students coming from failing schools and closing schools, and siblings. so they tried to keep families together, they tried to serve the community. but all of this is dictated by law. >> did you change your mind during this about anything that you thought you believed before you got into this documentary?
>> i mean, i think you o know, going into it, again, my commitment to all sides was very strong. and it's difficult to be so frustrated and closed out from one of those two sides so consistently for over a year. so i think my allegiance to the kids maybe has become stronger and i don't think that the union always has the kids' best interests at heart. >> here's gregory with his mother. >> when we go inside, we go stay on the line. i need you to cooperate. >> what does cooperate mean? >> it means do what i say. >> come on, let's go. >> my name is gregory alexander
good wine, senior. >> you sit over there. go ahead. >> i can just flash you back to where it began. 1983 right after i turned 16 years old. my cousins and their friends had become thieves, so to speak, they like to go in stores and take stuff. >> see your left hand. ok. >> flash their money and show their new clothes and everything, and it just attracted me. it went from stealing to selling drugs. i was thinking that i would
become the king pin guy, the guy with all the money and then i could pull out. but it never -- it never surfaced. it never surfaced. just took me so long to realize that the decisions and the choices that i made coming up were the wrong things, you know? they were the wrong things. and i don't regret it. and the reason that i don't regret it is because i have something and someone to give something to, to forewarn them, don't think like i thought. >> where is he in prison? >> he is upstate new york. >> and you had to go up there with him and the family and all? >> we did. yeah. >> and why did they let you in? what were the rules there at the prison?
>> we had to go through their office in albany, but we just had to go through the proper pathways, and then they helped us. >> what impact did that particular session have on you? >> that was a really difficult day. it was a long interview. it was about two and a half hours. and i had never been to a maximum security prison before. we hadn't met before, but i knew his whole family. and so it was very emotional. it was an emotional day. >> now, is he married? >> they're still married. >> how many children do they have? >> one. just little gregory. >> how old are most of the kids? >> going into kippeder garten and first grade. >> this goes for how many years? >> this school is new so it has its first class of fifth graders this year and it began
in kinder garden. >> how close is this to what you know? 1.1 million students in k-12 with 50,000 in charter schools in new york city? >> that sounds about right. well, there's 200 charter schools. i don't know if that's a bit high but i'm not sure. >> this is a confrontation of city council. we'll watch this. and, again, did you ever see eva lose her cool sflr? >> no, she was always quite calm. she's been doing this for a long time. >> and she used to hold hearings that were questioning the union. >> in this city council room. >> she chaired in which she testifies in the film. >> and a lot of stories say she wants to run for mayor. does she still have that interest? >> that's what i hear. >> let's watch this.
>> let me turn to my colleague, maria of the bronx. >> thank you, mr. chair. you in your testimony said council member jackson, we both live in harlem. i for the record, do you live in harlem? >> i grew up in harlem and i live in harlem. >> you live in harlem currently? >> doy. >> would you share with us a street? >> i have three young children, so i would prefer not to. are you questioning that i'm telling the truth? >> yeah. i am. >> ok. so i'm going to go on to the next question. >> that's a little offensive. >> it's ok. i don't have a problem. >> as to where i live. >> i can handle this. >> mr. chair i'll move on. >> one second. i know for a fact that eva lives in harlem. but clearly, i represent part of harlem but i live in washington heights. >> i'm not questioning where
you live. >> i understand. but go ahead. >> so the -- your statement about the schools deserving to be shut down. i think you represent for me the one thing that i have a great deal of concern about charter schools. you come in here and say they deserve to be closed down, and then we, those of us who remain in this body, have to navigate the conflict that comes out of the arrogance that comes when you make a statement like that. >> i appreciate and if i have come off as arrogant then i apologize. >> you have. >> but i would like an opportunity to explain what i think you are mistaking. but i don't think it's arrogance. i actually think it is my own personal experience with district 5 schools. i went to them as a child. toyed figure out what to do as a mother. and it is my experience of the
pain of wanting your kids to get a phenomenal education and being told it's that zone school or nothing. that's what you've been assigned to and you would better like it or you're done. and i think that that is an experience as a parent that is just awful. you bring these kids into the world. it's your obligation to do right by them. >> her background. how much education does she have? >> she i believe got her phd in history at vanderbilt where she taught. >> so she taught college for a while? and does she, and i have to ask this because you left us hanging does she really live in harlem? >> she does. absolutely. >> and she was raised in harlem? >> yes. >> the obvious thing is that almost everybody you see in any of these rooms are african
american. are there many whites that live in harlem? and what was her family doing living in harlem? >> she grew up in harlem and she went to district 5 schools. and her parents when she came home every night would tutor her. and she noticed her class mates falling farther and farther behind. and i think that sort of inequity fuels her now. >> how much money had to do with all this? i found a story in the new york daily news from february 27th of 2009, and it says here written by juan gonzalez. she raked in $371,000 in salaries in 2006-2007 school years h was that audience aware of that kind of money that she is making?
>> it's very public. their finances are totally open. and so it's really no secret. i mean, i think leaders of high performing charters schools they call them charter operators are making pretty good salaries. and i think those organizations feel that it's a worthwhile use of money to have an effective leader. >> how much though are they resenting that in these meetings that you're seeing or also how much of these city council people get their money from the unions to run for office? >> i think there is some resentment about her salary which i think is a little bit confusing because at the same time people want teachers to get paid more. so that's sort of the philosophy that a lot of the charter schools respect. is if we want great talent, we need to reward it. the teachers union is the largest lobbyist. they spend the most dollars lobbying albany than anybody
else in norks. so you have to imagine that -- new york city. so you have to imagine that a fair number of city council members are tied financially to union donations. >> how long is this documentary? >> it's 80 minutes. >> is it available on the web yet to buy or do you have to wait to get to the theaters? >> it's in theaters right now. we're in washington, d.c. this week. and then we're opening in denver. we're also in palm springs, new york, and l.a. an then it will be available in dmb vd starting in august. -- dvd. >> how much will it sell for? >> i don't know. that's a good question. >> and how many people worked on this with you? >> i don't know the total number of people. we had a small crew. we had about seven people shooting the film and we have a pretty small team now. we're all wearing a lot of hats. >> did you edit it yourself? >> yes, i did. i don't always recommend that, but i didn't have the budget
somewhat reflects my doing lots of things. >> we want to go to another clip. we're running out of time. here is eva talking about the need to educate kids no matter the circumstances they came from. >> we have families who are in very challenging circumstances, and we do our best to support them. but the main thing we do is educate the children no matter what the circumstance is. they still have to learn how to read and write, and so we need to provide more at the school, we need to make focus as easy as possible for the child. does it make it more difficult? of course. can children be distracted when they have had trauma in their lives? absolutely. but we can't change the hand that the child was dealt or that we have been dealt as a pool. we get -- school. we get attached to that child, and it's our job to educate
that kid no matter what. or come here. >> barack obama has those shiny shoes. >> does he? >> mm-hmm. >> you've seen him? >> yeah, i saw them. are you going to work? >> i am barack obama. >> why do you think that? you look a little bit like him in that suit. >> i feel a lot like him. >> ok. >> that's just -- that part of it is just kind of a side bar.
but what do you see is the connection there between this young fellow and barack obama? >> i think it's obama's presence in the film and in harlem is sort of understated until that moment. but it's very important. i think he is a really important person for these kids and you see his picture in the classrooms and the parents have his calendars in their atment. and so greg junior would dress up as him sometimes and go to school and work around the apartment. >> and what's -- i didn't mean to -- >> no. >> what's barack obama's position on charter schools? >> he is pro-school choice, i think. i mean, his race to the top fund is a really historic stance on the need for more options for parents and that includes charter schools. so he's very positive in that regard. >> now, at the end of this, and
we're not going to show the very end because it gives away what happens in the lottery itself. what's the procedure? we've got a little bit of video to show, but what's the procedure about finding out whether you are chosen? >> well, the parents aren't required to do so they do send letters home and it's a random computer rised process. but they ask that the charnts go in order to show their support. they say to the parents in the information sessions like, look, we send letters home but we think it's important for you to be there to prove to people that you want something better because your voice is important. and if i hadn't seen the footage of the lottery in 2008, i would have had no idea that this was happening. so i think -- >> and you just happened -- are you yeah. >> here's a minute of the video near the end. not to be interpreted as who the winner is and not the winner. >> just to see toyota find out. >> ♪
is keep your hopes alive. >> what happens if you don't win? >> it depends on the family. most of these families don't have the money to send their kids to private school or to move to a higher performing district. and so many of them are really forced to send their kids to the district schools. some of them applied -- one of the families applied to something like 20 charter schools. and so they're placing their bets, which they shouldn't have to do. >> so what's the hardest part of doing a documentary like this? i think the whole thing. i mean, i think really there's a pretty serious responsibility that i hadn't had before, which that i hadn't had before, which is to tell someone else's is to tell someone else's